Bangladesh Foreign Minister Mahmud to discuss Myanmar situation with India

Hasan Mahmud says discussing the casualties of the Bangladeshis caused by the conflict is on his agenda

Published : 6 Feb 2024, 02:47 PM
Updated : 6 Feb 2024, 02:47 PM

Hasan Mahmud says he will discuss the ongoing conflict in Myanmar between the armed insurgents and the troops during his first bilateral visit to India as foreign minister.

Mahmud, who is scheduled to leave for India on Tuesday night, told reporters that he would be meeting with India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during his stay in New Delhi.

"We have always sought India's cooperation in the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees. So, discussing Myanmar's armed forces seeking refuge in Bangladesh and the casualties caused by the conflict will naturally be on my agenda during this visit," he said.

The Arakan Army rebel group has been fighting Myanmar's government forces across the Tumbru border in Bandarban's Naikhongchhari Upazila for the last few days.

As many as fourteen members of Myanmar's Border Guard Police sought refuge in Bangladesh on Sunday after the rebels captured several BGP outposts.

Within a span of three days, a total of 229 people fled Myanmar to seek shelter in Bangladesh as the conflict intensified in the Rakhine State.

A spokesperson for the Bangladesh Border Guard has said that several members of the BGP, military, immigration personnel, police, and civilians are among the 299 people who have escaped Myanmar's territories. They have also been disarmed upon arrival for safety.

Asked about civilians taking shelter in Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Mahmud said: "BGP members, who were residing in the camps with their family, are seeking shelter here."

Several Chakma and Tanchangya families of Myanmar have also gathered at the border to flee the violent conflict, according to their relatives in Bangladesh.

Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Mizanur Rahman fears a possible exodus of Myanmar's civilians into Bangladesh, like the 2017 Rohingya crisis, may start again if the conflict continues.

Fighting has also impacted the communities residing across the border in Bangladesh. Many have left their homes to seek shelter in relatives' houses as the situation worsens.

On Monday afternoon, two people, including a woman, were killed by a mortar shell fired from Myanmar in the Jalpaitali area of Ghumdhum Union of Bandarban's Naikhongchhari.

Bangladesh has strongly protested against the casualties by summoning the ambassador of Myanmar.

"We are in talks with Myanmar to send back those who have come to Bangladesh by air as well as by sea," the foreign minister said.

He will return to Dhaka on Friday after visiting Kolkata and Delhi.